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International Year of Plant Health 2020

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 19th November 2019.

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Photo of Claudia Beamish Claudia Beamish Labour

I welcome the UN FAO ambition and the international year of plant health. I agree with the minister that those are significant issues, here and abroad, and that protection of our plant health needs resilience, which is also imperative in securing the right to food for all and much more. In our increasingly globalised world, what measures is the Government taking to improve action on biosecurity across all departments and levels of Government?

The limiting of our co-operative research and science projects by Brexit would be a terrible loss. Will the minister give a bit more detail about the arrangements to address the potential gap in funding and research placements, specifically with regard to the long-term vision that is important with regard to ecological issues?

Does the minister think that there is also a need to examine further the provenance of our native species and work to develop resilient strains of native seeds in the face of disease and climate change? How is the Government supporting farmers and crofters to adopt best-practice methods of nature-friendly farming, and will that be a consideration in forthcoming agriculture legislation?